When I graduated I felt it was the moment to start my career, I began to think about a business idea that I would really like to work on. I explored different options, and decided to take on something that I would (1) like, (2) have experience in and (3) have knowledge about and utilise my prior education.
In my years as a student, I did online courses where I deepened my knowledge about various subjects, it was from here, and during my classes at University, I started noticing a problem - most students struggle to find information on where to deepen their knowledge, practice what they have learned and how to use their learning on tools for elaborate assignments.
This became a problem in which I began to think of a solution - creating VisitMind, an educational website to host tools and resources for college students.
Starting is never easy
I was very insecure about how to start.
Yes, I did projects about companies in college, but here is my first lesson for real. Creating a company for a college project is totally different to creating a business in the real-life. I noticed that I didn’t have the guidance of the teachers at my side telling me if I was doing right or not, I wasn’t doing it for a college grade I was doing it because is my project of life, I was getting involved in the real world of creating a business. I took the first step. When I decided to start, I joined the Startup School of YC, where everything began for me, I didn’t have an idea of the path that was coming for me, and, how hard was keeping you ahead while you are trying to build your company.
Probably you have heard about how hard it is to start a business, perhaps many founders have mentioned it before. Starting a business requires will, determination and an idea. Maybe when you start a business, you think about the money - but no matter how much money you have if you don’t have the will and the determination, the money means nothing.
The hardest challenge is to sustain your business going, as soon as you decided to start you will begin to experiment the sweetness and bitterness of the journey.
When I started with VisitMind I faced up obstacles, doubts, insecurity about whether the idea is going to work, insecurities about myself too, that was something that I had to learn to overcome. For the path I chose, I had to start to believe in myself and develop the confidence and faith in myself. This was the first lesson.
Good days are fuel for your business. The bad days are the processes of learning.
When I had failures - and I had many, this is where I noticed it was a choice to take it away as a lesson. The bad decisions, the frustrations, demotivation, are a source of giving up for many founders. When something starts to look ugly and hard to overcome - the first thing we think about is jumping ship. However as the dip suggests, it is not a time to give up when you are on the cusp of breaking through!
When it gets tough, when you find it hard to work on the business - this is where you require some consistent dedication and passion. What makes it difficult at the beginning, is just the lack of experience and resilience. By not giving up, we move on from the challenges. We make changes. I experimented with changes and adjusted my beliefs, even if the idea initially wasn't perfect - I faced the reality and kept going. We need to face the reality when we enter the game of business, notice the things that do work and those that don't. Admit how wrong we are - if it is not easy for everybody, there's a crashing and it happens.
Listen to feedback.
Even if it sounds negative to the heart,
"I don't understand what you are doing"
"It will not work"
"Do another thing more interesting”
Listen and make changes if it faces facts and is the right thing to do. Making decisions can be tough.
Finding the ideal customer
Finding the ideal customers is the biggest challenge of any startup. Capturing their attention in a world saturated with advertising and constant creations every day, is not easy.
How does one make a noticeable product or service?
How does one communicate with the customers?
What if one loses the money they invested?
What if there is $0 gain?
These and other questions make your mind be full of doubts.
Something meaningful for me was participating in events of entrepreneurship, education, founders, startups, and marketing. I saw in them a big opportunity to know more about the ecosystem and networking. The latter being a huge advantage for any company, allowing you to meet founders, marketers, people in your field, potential customers, mentors - and gain the valuable advice, suggestions and feedback that really help you keep going in your field.
Many times this is what allowed me to keeping the will in continuing.